Night Flight

demons patrolling night
amidst ordinary memories
make for substantial adjustments
   in dream subject
not to mention predicate, speaking
of running, fleeing, flight
from demons--

one considers flying
at all, what with demons following,
temptation to hunker down strong--
that burrowing urge, but salvation
requires self-promotion,
so fly now--

Margaret resurrected a spooky prompt from Fireblossom for the weekend in the Imaginary Garden.


Fish Bait Tree

When it rains, you wonder
whether tears are right,

retreating to a corner
covered by catalpa umbrella.

Joy turns on a dime here,
followed by steady rain

so you wonder about tears,
hope, an array of excuses,

explanations for bruises,
the bean-heart of your tree

wilted following flowering,
pounding rain now drizzling,

promising sun behind tears.
And that’s the wonder of it,

how it changes like seasons,
calming after hurricanes

bring all the branches down.
You get on with your raking,

piling debris in that corner,
hoping for quick decomposition,

wondering about the weather,
planning for the next time it rains.

My offering for Björn Rudberg’s lovely prompt to the Real Toads: Swedish Poetry and Karin Boye


Lakeside Drive-In

There was that time when my mom offered
to take us to the drive-in with her friend
and we got to sit in the back seat together.
Not ideal, of course. I mean, chaperones

on a drive-in date? But it was all we had.
So we went, and I remember kissing you, even
with the grown-ups watching. And I can see,
even now when I close my eyes, your skinny

legs in skinny jeans, splayed out, and just
how serious you were about the whole affair.
In another year I’d get a boyfriend who lived
right next door to that very same drive-in

and I’d spend many an evening not watching
movies there. But that night, you and I
were on the cusp of something, on the line
between kids from camp who wrote letters

and young adults learning what pining meant.
That was it for us, as far as it went. Awkward
silence and downward glances were our style
next and every time we met hence, for years.

But that was the moment when we could see it
and touch it for the first time; what we’d
seek forever after. To see ourselves in
our lover’s eyes, to feel love in our bellies.

This is the last poem in my book SUPERPOWERS or: More Poems About Flying. I recently came across the above photo of a postcard from the real Lakeside Drive-In, which of course no longer exists. I was surprised by the intensity of my reaction to the photo and thought I’d share this poem again with the photo to accompany it. The poem is dedicated to Don Martin, who left us almost two years ago, far too soon.


6 A.M. on Tuesday

Waning dawns
at an open door
beckoning a bleary writer
to awe,
bitter coffee contrasted
with the sweet of birdsong,
crickets, sunstreaks
creaking over maple & mountain.

Soon mornings will require
a closed door,
for hunkering against cold,
the Holiday Season, the urge
to hibernate
under a mountain of quilts
with the furnace on.

This morning
pull on socks & sweater,
take what you can get,
for what you have been given.



At Thanksgiving, or a birthday
an uncle muttering I can’t read this
would borrow my grandmother’s glasses
or my mother would wear his to read
menus, rules of the game. I thought
all those adults had the same affliction
of the eyes. It must run in families.
Now I wear cheaters to read their emails.

Exactly 55 for Flash Fiction 55 at Real Toads!


As Long As We Are Able

Stay true to the sun, a beacon
behind clouds. Blue sky on your left
as grey blows over. No one’s listening
anyway, so stay true.
Birds flock after a storm, we gather
at the table. The cool air’s moved in.
Take what you can get in this life:
shelter, occasional sustenance.
    It’s enough.

Real Toads music prompt: The Valley by Los Lobos/David Hidalgo